Is Turkey Good for Dogs? Praise Poultry

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you’re like most humans, you’re probably already thinking about the food. It’s hard to pick a favorite with so many delicious sides, but there’s no denying that the turkey is the main event. You know who else might feel the same way? Your dog. But is turkey good for dogs to eat? Today we will find out.


Can Dogs Eat Turkey?

You’ve just carved up the Thanksgiving bird, and you notice your dog salivating at your feet. Surely it wouldn’t do any harm to feed him a few juicy slices. Would it?

Thanksgiving turkey might not be as safe as suspected. The American Kennel Club (AKC) states that the answer to can dogs eat turkey is both a yes and a no. Read on to learn the save way to serve this poultry to your pup.


Is Turkey Good For Dogs?

Before we discuss the dangers of dogs consuming turkey, let’s explore the benefits. Is turkey good for dogs?  Since turkey is present in a number of commercial dog foods, it’s likely no surprise that it isn’t toxic to dogs.

Overall, the meat contains a number of beneficial elements. Turkey has key nutrients in it, such as riboflavin and phosphorous. Riboflavin, also known as vitamin B2, is key in breaking down food in order to maintain tissues and absorb nutrients. Additionally, phosphorous is crucial for building bones along with calcium.

Probably the best part of turkey is its protein. The USDA estimates that one ounce of turkey contains eight grams of protein. This amounts to a whopping 1,088 grams of protein per bird. This is excellent for dogs, who derive their main source of their daily calories from animal protein.

The AKC states that with proper vet guidance, turkey can actually be a staple in homemade dog food diets.


Turkey Dangers for Dogs

Right now turkey is looking like a pretty safe snack. So why the hesitation in declaring it good for dogs?

The danger of turkey lies with the way it is served. When was the last time you had a slice of plain turkey? Unfortunately, Thanksgiving birds tend to come loaded and stuffed with oils, butter, and seasoning. Dogs do not need any extra fats or salts in their diets.

Your family’s award winning Thanksgiving turkey seasoning is likely to give your dog an upset stomach. In serious cases, it could even lead to pancreatitis. Furthermore, dogs should never be eating any foods in the allium family. This means that dogs can never eat onions, garlic, leeks, shallows, or chives.

Do not take these warnings lightly. Consuming off-limit foods could result in serious complications and even death.


How to Serve Turkey Safely

Now that you’re aware of how not to serve turkey, let’s explore the safe way to feed your pup poultry.

First, dogs love bones. They could spend hours just gnawing away. Unfortunately turkey bones are not safe for dogs to consume. For one, poultry bones tend to be very brittle. In addition, they are small. This makes them a recipe for disaster when it comes to dogs choking.

In fact, dogs should never be eating bones that weren’t intended for canine consumption. The risks of eating bones include mouth injuries, throat and intestinal obstruction, choking, constipation, bone fragment caught in stomach lining, rectal bleeding, and serious internal blockage.

So bones are off limits, but what about other turkey parts? It turns out plain meat is the only part of the turkey that is safe for your dog to eat. This means no turkey skin. The skin is filled with dangerous fat and seasoning that your dog does not need. Consuming too much fat can lead to pancreatitis in dogs.

Lastly, limit how much turkey you feed your dog. If you’re considering making it a bigger part of your dog’s diet, talk to your vet first. Feeding your dog too many table scraps might result in a happy pup, but it can also lead to health problems such as obesity.


Final Verdict

Is turkey good for dogs? Yes, turkey is a protein-packed staple for many dogs. However, dogs should never be consuming seasoned turkey. Additionally, your dog should skip out on turkey skin and bones. Always stick to the plain meat.

To read about how other Thanksgiving staples fare for dogs, check out are sweet potatoes good for dogs.

Emma Polini